MANAMA, Bahrain — President Isaac Herzog met Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on Sunday, with the monarch underscoring his support for the “legitimate rights of the Palestinian people” in his public statement alongside the visiting Israeli head of state.

Speaking in Arabic, King Hamad stressed Bahrain’s “firm position in support of achieving a just, comprehensive and sustainable peace that guarantees the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and that will lead to stability, development and prosperity for both the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, as well as all peoples of the region.”

Notably, the monarch did not mention a Palestinian state, nor did either leader bring up Iran, a country that both see as an enemy.

Hamad also pointed to the “religious and cultural diversity in our country, and the spirit of friendliness, tolerance and peaceful coexistence among the members of our honorable society of all religions and races.”

Herzog landed in Manama on Sunday for the first-ever visit by an Israeli head of state to the small Gulf island kingdom.

He opened his remarks in Arabic, thanking King Hamad for his hospitality.

Herzog also noted the Israeli business leaders in his delegation, representing organizations that include Israel’s Innovation Authority, Start-Up Nation Central, and the Israel Export Institute.

Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem, is played by Bahrain’s military band in front of @Isaac_Herzog and King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa at the Al Qudaibiya palace in Manama. pic.twitter.com/wetagoe9uT

— Lazar Berman (@Lazar_Berman) December 4, 2022

“You are at the forefront of making history in the region, where Jews and Muslims can dwell together, the sons of Abraham, and move forward in peace,” said Herzog.

King Hamad met Herzog at Manama’s Al-Qudaibiya Palace, where a military band played the national anthems of both countries.

At the beginning of their meeting, the president gave the monarch a silver mezuzah.

According to Herzog’s office, the two leaders discussed ways to expand the bilateral relationship.

Herzog’s two-day visit will also take him to the United Arab Emirates on Monday.

Ahead of his departure from Israel, Herzog said the trip was “predominantly a message of peace in the region.”

“Another historic step in the relationship between Israel and Arab states that signed the Abraham Accords, with the hope that more and more countries will be able to join the circle of peace with the State of Israel,” Herzog said in English.

Writing in The Times of Israel on Sunday, Herzog said that he would be focusing on translating the Abraham Accords into tangible benefits for private citizens, including through a free trade deal with Bahrain.

“I believe that the single greatest opportunity facing the Middle East is a warm peace with Israel — unlocking the latent potential of partnerships with our dynamic, vibrant economy,” the president wrote. “We cherish Bahrain as a trailblazer and pioneer in this regard, setting an example for the nations of our region.”

He also published a similar piece in Arabic in Al Ayam, Bahrain’s largest newspaper.

Upon landing in Manama, Herzog and his wife Michal were welcomed by Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani and Bahrain’s envoy to Israel Khaled Yousif Al-Jalahma.

He then sat down for a meeting with Al-Zayani.

In the afternoon, Herzog is slated to meet with members of the local Jewish community, after which he will head to a meeting with the Bahrain Economic Development Board.

On Monday, the president will take off for Abu Dhabi to meet with his Emirati counterpart Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi ruler. Herzog will also attend the Abu Dhabi Space Debate, a forum on space exploration policy that will also feature Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The visit takes place as the Gulf has seen recent displays of anti-Israel sentiment, cracking the façade of widespread backing for normalization in both Bahrain and the UAE. Opposition to official government policy is rare in both countries run by authoritarian regimes, but support for the Abraham Accords has been declining in both places.

Ahead of Herzog’s visit on Friday, protesters in Bahrain chanted “death to Israel” at rallies against the upcoming trip. The protesters were affiliated with opposition groups that are supportive of Iran, the Ynet news site reported.

Some carried signs with Herzog’s image that said “criminal” and “you are not welcome in Bahrain.”

Local authorities allowed the anti-Israel protests to take place, but will not permit similar events during Herzog’s visit, the report said.

A Bahraini opposition outlet said the demonstrators burned an Israeli flag and squared off with riot police.

Israel normalized ties with the UAE and Bahrain in 2020 as part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords. The agreement paved the way for normalization with Morocco months later.

In January, Herzog visited the UAE’s Abu Dhabi and Dubai on a two-day trip.

Last month, presumed incoming prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a phone call with Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

The pair expressed their desire to continue to deepen relations between the two countries, and Netanyahu invited Al Khalifa to visit Israel.

In October, a delegation of Israeli paratroopers held a joint jump over Bahrain, alongside soldiers from the Gulf nation, the UAE, and the United States to mark two years since the signing of the Abraham Accords.

I joined The Times of Israel after many years covering US and Israeli politics for Hebrew news outlets.

I believe responsible coverage of Israeli politicians means presenting a 360 degree view of their words and deeds – not only conveying what occurs, but also what that means in the broader context of Israeli society and the region.

That’s hard to do because you can rarely take politicians at face value – you must go the extra mile to present full context and try to overcome your own biases.

I’m proud of our work that tells the story of Israeli politics straight and comprehensively. I believe Israel is stronger and more democratic when professional journalists do that tough job well.

Your support for our work by joining The Times of Israel Community helps ensure we can continue to do so.

Thank you,
Tal Schneider, Political Correspondent

We’re really pleased that you’ve read X Times of Israel articles in the past month.

That’s why we started the Times of Israel ten years ago - to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.

For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as accessing exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.

Thank you,
David Horovitz, Founding Editor of The Times of Israel

QOSHE - Herzog meets Bahraini king, who stresses Palestinians’ ‘legitimate rights’ - Lazar Berman
We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Herzog meets Bahraini king, who stresses Palestinians’ ‘legitimate rights’

21 11 7
04.12.2022

MANAMA, Bahrain — President Isaac Herzog met Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on Sunday, with the monarch underscoring his support for the “legitimate rights of the Palestinian people” in his public statement alongside the visiting Israeli head of state.

Speaking in Arabic, King Hamad stressed Bahrain’s “firm position in support of achieving a just, comprehensive and sustainable peace that guarantees the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and that will lead to stability, development and prosperity for both the Palestinian and Israeli peoples, as well as all peoples of the region.”

Notably, the monarch did not mention a Palestinian state, nor did either leader bring up Iran, a country that both see as an enemy.

Hamad also pointed to the “religious and cultural diversity in our country, and the spirit of friendliness, tolerance and peaceful coexistence among the members of our honorable society of all religions and races.”

Herzog landed in Manama on Sunday for the first-ever visit by an Israeli head of state to the small Gulf island kingdom.

He opened his remarks in Arabic, thanking King Hamad for his hospitality.

Herzog also noted the Israeli business leaders in his delegation, representing organizations that include Israel’s Innovation Authority, Start-Up Nation Central, and the Israel Export Institute.

Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem, is played by Bahrain’s military band in front of @Isaac_Herzog and King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa at the Al Qudaibiya palace in Manama. pic.twitter.com/wetagoe9uT

— Lazar Berman (@Lazar_Berman) December 4, 2022

“You are at the forefront of making history in the region, where Jews and Muslims can dwell together, the sons of Abraham, and move forward in peace,” said Herzog.

King........

© The Times of Israel


Get it on Google Play